What once was billed as a protest is being transformed into a call for unity in the City of Batavia.
Area resident Macy Paradise formed a group called "Community Against Social Injustice" met with city leaders today and together they worked out a plan for a BBQ for Equality to be held at Williams Park at noon on Sunday.
Originally, Paradise and group members were planning a "protest" outside City Hall on Sunday but after violence erupted in other cities following peaceful protests, Paradise said he recognized the risk to local businesses in holding an event downtown.
He said the City of Batavia and City Church have agreed to donate food for the BBQ. The restriction on public gatherings in the park will be lifted Sunday afternoon for this event.
Statement from Macy Paradise:
In light of the recent destructive events happening nationwide and after meeting with many head city members, we’ve decided to team up with the city to take a proactive approach to getting our voices heard! The City of Batavia has teamed up with Community Against Social Injustice to bring OUR CITY a BBQ FOR EQUALITY in place of the protest. We will meet at NOON on Sunday, June 7th at Williams Park to show that this community can come together as ONE for the same cause, equality! The City of Batavia and The City Church are donating the food and resources necessary to make this event successful! This will be a FREE family-friendly event with many guest speakers, including The City of Batavia’s Police Chief Shawn Heubusch, who will share his views on the recent events happening in our nation and to promote equality within our community! Show up and MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD! We are ALL capable of standing TOGETHER to show that Black Lives Matter and that our community is strong and working together towards the same mission, EQUALITY!
Our mission is to show our community that we are unified in the efforts to end the social injustices happening to our brothers and sisters of color. We hope to bring the whole community together in one place to show how important it is for local police to denounce the actions of those officers who have committed these social injustices to the minorities in this community in hopes that we come together in the fight for equality. We listened to the voices of our local residents and business owners and decided we would make a much more proactive stance if we shifted from a protest to a BBQ/Rally for equality. We’d love all elected city officials, civil servants, businesss owners, and residents to come together and hold each other accountable in the fight for equality. Hopefully this alleviates the fears and brings more people together for a peaceful cause!
Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed the plan and said city officials were concerned about outside agitators using an event downtown to come here and cause trouble.
"We don't want to see happen here what happened in Rochester," Heubusch said. "It's better that we come together united and have everyone sit down and have a good conversation rather than everybody screaming at each other."
Heubusch will be one of the speakers at the BBQ and he will share his thoughts on the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis.
"We're calling on our elected leaders to participate and show those looking for justice that we're united," Heubusch said.
The Batavian will have a live stream interview with Paradise at 3:30 p.m. today and with Heubusch on Wednesday morning.